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from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

Coconut Breakfast Cakes
2 c whole flax seeds, or 3 c flax seed meal
2 tbsp liquid coconut oil
1/2 c agave or maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c water

Put flax meal, coconut oil, agave, salt, and water in a large bowl and mix well. Form four balls and flatten into a “pancake” shape, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

To serve, top with Cashew Coconut Pudding (recipe follows) and fresh fruit.

Batter will keep for four to five days in the fridge. Makes 4 servings

Cashew Coconut Pudding
2 c cashews
1 1/2 c water
1/4 c pitted dates
1/2 shredded dried coconut or fresh coconut

Blend the cashews and water until smooth. Add the dates and coconut. Blend until smooth.

Will keep for three to four days in the fridge. Makes 4 servings

We recently had some friends visit who are pretty into raw food, so I was more than happy to bust out this cookbook in order to whip up a breakfast treat. I chose these two recipes because not only did I have all of the ingredients on hand, but Cleo has been totes gaga over cashews lately. And pancakes. She doesn’t seem to mind the other ingredients either.
We ended up making these the night before; I say we, because I put my guests to work forming the pancakes. They were huge! (the cakes, not the guests). We ended up making 5, and had plenty. So much actually, that none of us were able to finish our servings. Except for my husband, who has a hollow leg- he ate the biggest pancake, and probably the most pudding, before we even got up. He did have an early morning that he needed fuel for. Not that I’m complaining… The recipe for the pudding made enough for me to bring a bunch to share with my co-workers, several of whom are interested in raw food. I think they were pleasantly surprised (here’s the recipe, as promised, RF!)
I mostly followed the recipe… I might have added just a pinch extra salt (and it might have been divine) to the pancakes, and we chose to go with the maple syrup. Be sure that you measure out the coconut oil after you melt it (if it isn’t already melted in your cupboard…); the measurements are different when solid and liquid. And if your ingredients are cold, like mine were, the oil will solidify again. Mine did, since I keep my flax meal and seeds in the fridge, as well as the maple syrup. I just popped it in the warm oven for a few minutes to warm it up enough to melt it. You don’t want to cook it though! That wouldn’t be fitting of a raw food adventure at all.
This was a breakfast that I was really surprised by. I kind of thought I’d be hungry when I got to work, but I actually stayed full for most of the day. It was actually a little creepy how unhungry I was.

from VegNews Magazine, May/June 2009. Recipe by Allison Rivers Samson

For the pasta:
4 quarts water
1 tbsp salt
12 ounces ziti (which I couldn’t find at my market, so I used whole wheat penne)
For the tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c onion, diced
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 28-oz can fire roasted tomato puree (I used chunks)
1 tsp salt
For the ricotta:
1 1/2 c macadamia nuts, soaked in water for a minimum of four hours
1/4 c water
1/8 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
For the cashew cream:
3/4 c raw cashews
1/8 tsp dried dill
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 c water
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced and divided

To prepare the pasta, in a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add ziti and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

To prepare the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onion, and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Reduce heat to low. Add tomatoes and cover loosely. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and cook for another 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor, add soaked macadamia nuts, water, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Puree for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and puree another minute. Repeat until ricotta is light and fluffy. Set aside.

To prepare the cashew cream, in a blender, add cashews and grind into a fine powder. Add dill, salt, lemon juice, water, and rice vinegar, and process until completely smooth.

In a large bowl, toss ziti with marinara sauce and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley. Gently stir in ricotta, leaving small chunks. Swirl in cashew cream and pour into a deep 9×13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley. Makes 6-8 big servings.

Prepare to have your mind blown. This dish was so good! Rich, filling, creamy, flavorful… the ricotta alone! I’ll be using that in other dishes for sure.
I started to get really frustrated with all the dishes and the time investment (turns out this is not the best dish to make after putting baby to bed on a weeknight that also happens to be diaper laundering night…), but it was SO WORTH IT. I bet it would freeze well! The leftovers were really tasty two days later. If you don’t mind an extra dish (really, after using the food processor and the blender, what’s one more?), it would shave off some time to cook the pasta while the tomato sauce is cooking. I don’t think I’ve ever had traditional ziti, but the penne seemed like it worked just fine. And perhaps my tomato chunks were a faux pas, but I sure enjoyed them. It made it seem just a little more gourmet, and gave it just a little added texture. And cooking those onions on medium-high heat? No. Try medium at most! It only took a few minutes, and I had to remove the pan from the heat to keep my herbs and garlic from burning. Just a little warning if you try this dish. Which you should. Because it’s BOMB. I can’t believe it took me a year to try this one! I’m going to make a gluten-free version for my sister one of these next few visits. I can’t wait!

from How it all Vegan! by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

Flax Seed Crackers:
1/2 c flax seeds
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp margarine or vegetable shortening
1 tsp dried oregano (optional), or
onion powder (optional), or
dried dill (optional)
1/2 c soy milk

Preheat oven to 325F. (I’d wait to preheat until the dough is done chilling. Unless it takes a LONG time for your oven to get warm…) In a food processor or with your hands, blend together the flax seeds, flour, baking powder, salt, margarine, and optional spices until well mixed. Place in a medium bowl and slowly add the milk. Mix and knead together until dough forms a bowl. Chill dough for 10-20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. In between 2 sheets of wax paper, roll out the dough very thinly to form a rectangle. Cut into 6 squares, or use cookie cutters. Repeat with the remaining dough. Transfer the crackers onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for 5 minutes more. Makes 24 crackers.

Garlic Dill Cream Cheese:
1 c soft or medium tofu
1/4 c cashew pieces
2 tsp sweetener
2-5 cloves garlic, minced (you know I went for 5!)
1-2 tbsp water (I ended up needing closer to 4, to keep my blender going)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp dried dill

In a blender or food processor, blend together all the ingredients until smooth and thick. Place in sealable container. Will keep in the fridge for 4-7 days. Makes approx. 1 cup.

So, this was my first adventure in cracker baking. It was pretty fun! I doubled both recipes, because over the weekend we were expecting a few visitors, and I do like to have something to offer…. plus, I haven’t covered any savory snacks in the blog so far. I made the cream “cheese” while the crackers baked, and the entire production took about an hour. For the crackers, I didn’t add any of the flavorings, because I wanted to put jam on some of them, so they were very basic. I might sprinkle salt on top of them before putting them in the oven next time, but I am a total salt freak. I might have rolled the crackers too thick, as I’m likely to do with cookies. I used a baking mat and cling wrap for the rolling production, because I don’t have wax paper… maybe that was part of my problem? I think it worked out well anyway. These little slabs were the perfect vehicles for the cream cheese… which was SO ZIPPY due to that raw garlic! Glad I played it safe and stayed within the given range of cloves; I figured I should since it was such a wide one. The spread was quick to make, aside from having to keep adding a little water at a time to keep things blending… this stuff would be great on a sandwich, and I also used it as a topper to a scramble for our dinner last night. Super tasty! I’ll definitely be making this again, perhaps without the crackers though. They disappeared too fast.

I made this up for a quick Friday night meal.

whole wheat pasta of your choice, enough for 2 people
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch fresh asparagus, bases broken off and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 c roasted garlic
3/4 c cashew cream
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 gardein chick’n scallopini, cooked according to package directions

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat and toss in your asparagus. We like it a bit crunchy still, so I didn’t cook it long before tossing in the other ingredients. If you like it a little mushier, feel free to put the lid on the pot so it steams and softens a bit. When it’s getting close to where you like it cooked, add the roasted garlic, cashew cream and sprinkle on the nutritional yeast. Lower the heat and keep stirring to combine the ingredients. Add the cooked pasta and stir it all up to coat. Serve with the chick’n, as you see fit. Serves 2.

This is a tasty, quick and easy weeknight meal if you happen to have both braised garlic and cashew cream kicking around in your fridge. In fact, if I had one, I’d make a batch of the other, just so I could make a meal like this. Of course, you can vary the ingredients (hello, broccoli!), and the amounts you use to suit the whims of your tastebuds… And honestly I am having a hard time remembering how much of each ingredient I used… that’s the great thing about cooking, as opposed to baking- you can adjust as you wish.
And can we take a moment to discuss those chick’n scallopinis? Wow. I am an ethical vegan, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes pine for my first true love, chicken. When my mom asked what I wanted for my third birthday, thinking I might ask for a doll or a pony, I told her I wanted chicken. I loved chicken more than most things in life. These “breasts” are the most comparable thing to chicken that I’ve found. We’ve tried a few of their products, all of them tasty. The marinara chick’n good stuff! Dang! Served up with fried polenta and a salad on the side? So good. I first read about the products in the Tal Ronnen cookbook, and was so excited when I finally found them in the freezer at our market. We’ll be tasting more of these…

from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

2 c whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry), rinsed very well under cold water

Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. (If you’re not using a professional high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.)

To make thick cashew cream, which some recipes in this book call for, simply reduce the amount of water in the blender, so that the water just covers the cashews. Makes about 2 1/2 cups thick cream or 3 1/2 cups regular cream.

Pictured above is the thick cashew cream. It’s amazing! I can’t believe I’ve never made this before… and I’m so excited about all of the possibilities! Whipped cream, cream sauces, sour cream, pancake and waffle toppings… all vegan! The texture is so good- like fatty yogurt. The flavor isn’t too nutty, so it’s a great canvas for other flavors. I don’t have a Vita-Mix; I have a KitchenAid. And it worked very well… I can’t imagine putting this stuff through a fine-mesh sieve! If anybody does it, let me know, would you? I’m curious.

from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

1/2 head read leaf or romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 bunch dinosaur kale (aka Lacinato kale), ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 c red cabbage, chopped
1 c walnuts
1/2 c cherries, dried or fresh
Orange-Cucumber Dressing:
1 small cucumber, about 5 inches long, diced
1 medium orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c cashews
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic (I might have used 2… they weren’t huge!)
Juice of one lemon, about 2 tbsp
1 tsp sea salt

Place lettuce, kale, cabbage, and walnuts in a large salad bowl.

To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

To serve, toss salad with Orange-Cucumber Dressing. Top with cherries for color.

Tossed salad will keep for one day in the fridge. Salad mix will keep for two days, and dressing will keep for three to four days when stored separately. Makes 4 servings.

Dang! This was even better than I expected it to be. It was like a fresh variation on the Caesar salad… with cherries and walnuts in place of the croutons. I was a bit worried that the kale would be too green tasting in here, but Mike said he didn’t really notice it when I asked him about it later. I think it mostly added texture… which made this salad so great. The dressing is heavenly; the cashews make it nice and creamy. I wonder if we would have tasted more cucumber had I resisted my garlic addiction? Perhaps next time I will have the strength. I can’t wait to make this for my family.

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